Selecting an electrode can be very confusing, especially with all the market varieties and the different codes. Depending on what type of material you want to fabricate and the machine you own, you can pick the right rod. Here, we will discuss the most commonly used rods –the 6011 welding stick electrodes.
In this guide, we will tell you what they are, where to use them and how to use them. You can also find out their advantages and disadvantages, and what your alternate options are. So go on and find out if 6011 is right for your job at hand.
- 1 What are 6011 Welding Rods?
- 2 Why do Welders Use 6011 welding rods (Pros & Cons)
- 3 In what Base metals Should I use the 6011 Welding Rod?
- 4 What is the Ideal Rod Diameter and Thickness of Flux?
- 5 What Type of Current and How Many Amps Should I Use?
- 6 What Are Other Rod Types I Can Use
- 7 Tips for Using 6011 Rods
- 8 Conclusion
What are 6011 Welding Rods?
6011 welding rods are one of the most common types of welding rods. They are great all-purpose welding rods that are useful for general repair and fabrication. You can run them on cars, engines, furniture, or farm equipment.
To better understand their properties, let us talk a little about the numbering system. While the codes on electrodes may seem random, they say much about the welding rods’ attributes. And as you shall see, understanding the codes can help you find out how the rods will behave and the kind of result you can expect.
The first two digits stand for the tensile strength of the rods in thousands of pounds. The 60 in 6011 implies that the weld will have a tensile strength of sixty thousand pounds per square inch (psi). The third digit tells in which position you can use the rod. The number 1 is used for all positions. That means you can use 6011 rods in an overhead, vertical, horizontal, or flat position. The last digit tells you what type of flux coating is on the rod and what kind of current you can use. The last number 1 denotes a high-cellulose potassium coating, which makes it highly versatile, and you can run it on AC, DC+, or DC- current.
Why do Welders Use 6011 welding rods (Pros & Cons)
6011 welding rods are incredibly versatile. They are useful for all kinds of welding jobs, irrespective of the arc welding you do and the position you must work in. The high-cellulose potassium flux adds to its penetration abilities and works well on greasy, rusty, dirty, and worn-out equipment. The puddle dries quickly, and the weld fusion is excellent, leaving you with a durable bead. Plus, they leave less slag, which is easy to deal with.
Most high-end machines require you to use direct current with the rod as the negative electrode. Sometimes, the polarity is reversed, and you use the rod as the positive electrode. And most common and inexpensive cracker boxes use alternating current. Not all welding rods can run all polarity. They just run on one or two polarities, but 6011 welding rods will run on any polarity. Whether you own an expensive high-end machine or an ordinary cracker box, 6011 will work.
Storage of welding rods is tricky. Each type of rod requires specific needs that you must meet to preserve its longevity. Most rods must be kept at consistently hot temperatures and away from moisture. 6011 welding rods, on the other hand, are easy to store. They need not be reconditioned like other rods, and you can keep them at room temperature. So if you perform a lot of welding, you can stock up on 6011 rods without worrying about them going bad. As long as you keep them dry, they will come in handy.
Despite their apparent advantages over other welding rods, like all others, 6011 rods also have their flaws. 6011 rods leave a rough ripple, which may not be great if aesthetics is essential. The finished product will not be as pretty as other welding rods such as the 7018 or 6013.
Deep penetration also means that you can’t use them on sheet metal as they can quickly burn holes. They are better suited for thicker, heavier metal. You can’t make very wide fillets with 6011 rods. Else, the weld will crack, and that limits its ability to work on wider joints.
They are also not very easy to operate. Experienced welders can control how much penetration they want and how fast the puddle cools with their strokes. However, welding with 6011 can be difficult for beginners as they will struggle to keep the rods from sticking to the beads. You will need more experience before you can master the welding techniques and get perfect beads.
In what Base metals Should I use the 6011 Welding Rod?
When selecting an electrode, you must ensure that the base metal composition closely matches that of the rod. The closer their composition is, the stronger the weld will be. The tensile strength of the base metal and 6011 welding rod must also be in a similar range.
6011 welding rods are ideal for welding carbon and galvanized steel, cast iron, and nickel alloys. They will, however, not work well on stainless steel. If your base metal comprises aluminum, copper, brass, or other non-ferrous metals, 6011 is not for you either.
Each metal or alloy has its distinct properties and responds differently to different electrodes. You must determine your base metal before you pick your rod. However, choosing your base metal can be tricky, so look out for the following four factors.
If your base metal appears coarse or grainy on the internal surface, it is composed of cast iron.
If your base metal is magnetic, it is probably carbon or alloy steel. If it is non-magnetic, the material could be manganese steel or non-ferrous metal.
If the metal emits a lot of sparks, it has high carbon content.
If the metal is very hard, it is probably high-carbon steel or cast iron. The aluminum base will be softer.
Knowing your base metal will help you select the right welding rod and ensure a stronger weld. 6011 rods are perfect for most repairs like bridging gaps, AC pipe welding, galvanized steel, and sheet metal. 6011 welds are not suitable on high-strength steels in heat-affected zones because they are prone to severe cracking. They are better suited for milder steels.
What is the Ideal Rod Diameter and Thickness of Flux?
6011 welding rods come in various sizes, but which size to buy will depend on the thickness of the metal you will weld. Generally, the thicker the diameter, the greater will be the penetration and the rate of deposition. That means choosing a smaller rod will leave you with a weaker weld, while welding with a rod that is too thick can burn holes into your stock. So you want to choose a rod that is neither too thin nor too thick for your stock.
The diameter of 6011 welding rods can range from 3/32 to 5/16 of an inch, but the most common sizes are 3/32, 1/8, and 5/32. These diameters will work efficiently for most repairs around the house. You can opt for thicker rods if you weld metals that are over half inches thick. Note that thicker rods will require higher amperage. For example, 5/16 rods can take up to 425 amperes to function effectively.
Now let us talk about flux coating and why it is necessary. Without the flux, molten iron and steel can react with oxygen in the air, forming rust powder. Besides, the arc will be sporadic and difficult to control, leaving you with uneven pools of porous metal. The flux creates a gap between the metal and air and stabilizes the arc. It increases the rate of metal deposition on the stock, giving you a good weld.
The flux in stick electrodes may range between 1mm to 3mm in thickness.
The high-cellulosic flux on 6011 welding rods gives deeper penetration than other rods and lends enough stability, enabling you to work in every position. It has excellent welding capacity both in uphill as well as downhill direction, although gravity enhances better pool build-up uphill. The flux leaves behind slag that is easy to clean up, and the weld metal has good mechanical properties.
The primary ingredient of the flux in 6011 is cellulose, and they typically produce a large amount of hydrogen. Even as low as 12 ml per 10 grams of metal, the presence of hydrogen can cause extensive cracking in high-strength metals. This is why they are strictly prohibited from being used in bridge construction. Commercially, they are used mostly in pipelines.
However, they are good enough for most fabrication jobs in your home and garage. So you can go ahead, check your base metal, and stock up on these extremely versatile rods.
What Type of Current and How Many Amps Should I Use?
6011 welding rods can run on both direct and alternating currents, so it works for all kinds of machines, even low-end inverters with only alternating currents.
Direct current flows only in one direction and has a constant polarity, while alternating current alternates its flow direction. On a 60 hertz current, AC will change its polarity 120 times per second. Welding with direct current is more comfortable as you deal with fewer arc outrages and spatter. But beginners frequently use AC on low-cost welding machines.
As a welder, understanding polarity is necessary as it directly impacts the weld’s strength and quality. Choose the correct polarity, and you are likely to produce a high-quality weld. But make the wrong choice and expect a lot of unnecessary spatter and difficulty controlling your welding arc.
If you are on direct current, the electrodes can be negative (straight polarity) or positive (reversed polarity). In straight polarity, the electrodes run at a higher speed, so the melt-off and deposition rate will be faster. Reversed polarity, on the other hand, will give you deeper penetration. Alternating current being half positive and half negative will have welding properties that lie between the positive and negative polarities of DC.
Alternating current is preferable to direct current if you are working in a restricted area. It reduces arc blow and decreases chances for blowholes and slag inclusions.
Refer to the table below to find the amperage range of different sizes of 6011 welding rods.
You can adjust the current to control the weld puddle and the arc.
For flat-position welding, a 1/8″ or shorter arc is ideal. Hold the electrode and touch the work surface lightly with the tip. Using the middle to a higher range of amperage will ensure steady metal deposition. Remember 6011 rods are fast-freeze and dry very quickly. You might want to move fast to stay ahead of the weld pool.
For vertical positions, use smaller-sized electrodes and a lower range of current. The succeeding passes with a slight pause along the edges will ensure better penetration and efficient wash-in.
If you are working in overhead and horizontal positions, use 3/16″ or smaller electrodes. When working overhead, adopt a steeper angle to prevent any slag from dripping down. Pay attention to your speed. Slow or excessively high travel speed can decrease penetration and leave you with a shallow bead. Adjust your amperage so that the arc length and the diameter of the metal core are in proportion.
What Are the Best 6011 Welding Rods
- It’s highly unlikely not to have heard of Lincoln as a company since it is one of the best companies in the welding industry for decades. They offer a wide range of 6011 welding rods that are known for their high quality and reliable performance. Check the Lincoln 6011 Rods here.
- Hobart is another giant known for their excellent arc stability and is a popular choice among both professional and DIY welders. Their electrodes are considered value-for-money by a lot of members of the welding community. Check the Hobart 6011 Rods here.
- Forney is a great company that is known for its high-end and excellently manufactured products. Also, their rods are considered affordable without damaging their quality. Check the Forney 6011 Rods here.
Any of those companies are highly trusted for their 6011-rod products. Take into account the magnitude of the welding project you are involved in as well as your past experience with using rods with these companies and you will be able to complete your welding tasks without any problems.
What Are Other Rod Types I Can Use
Despite their versatility, 6011 welding rods have their cons. Different jobs call for different properties, and they may not be the perfect choice for all fabrication jobs. If you want alternate options, you can also look into 7018, 7024, 6010, and 6013.
An all-position welding rod that gives the prettiest bead is the 7018 rod. Plus, it has a strong tensile strength that can withstand 70,000 psi and is one of the most comfortable rods to use. It has an iron powder low hydrogen coating and runs on all polarity. It performs the best in terms of aesthetics and strength of welds. If your needs are for stronger crack-resistant welds, you might as well try 7018 rods. They need to be stored in the oven at 250 F to prevent the rod from building up moisture.
If you need a large weld 7024 forms a large puddle that flows well and can fill up joints in a single pass. However, it requires high amperage and does not work on all positions. Note the two in the third digit’s place indicates it will work only on flat or horizontal positions. It has an iron powder Titania coating, making the hot puddle cool rather slowly, so it is impossible to do the overhead or vertical position. A drag-type rod, 7024, has a high deposition rate and leaves little slag.
A great alternative to 6011 rods is the 6013 welding rods. They have the same tensile strength and run on all polarity. They are both flexible rods, but 6013 is an easier-for-use option that is ideal for beginners who might find 6011 challenging to control. It does not penetrate deeply like 6011 and works better on thinner metals but provides a very stable arc and gives you a smooth finish. The slag is easy to clean up, and there is minimal splatter. Unlike 6011, which can cut through rusted and dirty surfaces, 6013 is ideal for new and clean sheet metal.
6010 welding rods are similar to 6011 rods. They have the same tensile strength and are all-position cellulosic electrodes that have a deeply penetrating arc. Both electrodes can cut through greasy, rusted, and dirty surfaces. Because they share a lot of similarities, we call them close cousins. The key difference is 6011 runs on all polarity while 6010 runs only on direct current. 6010 rods have higher tensile strength as well as yield strength and penetrate deeper than 6011. It runs smoother too and tends to leave little slag, because of which it is often used in root passes on pipes.
You can look into several other rods, but these rods will probably satisfy your welding needs. Whether it’s aesthetics, weld strength, or easy operability, you can find one to fit your need. Although other rods’ storage may be a hassle, you can experiment on other rods if you feel that 6011 is not enough.
Tips for Using 6011 Rods
Here are a few tips that you might want to keep in mind before you roll up your sleeves and get down to work.
Prop yourself properly so that you are comfortable operating with both hands. If you are a student or a beginner, you will be tempted to weld with just one hand like professional welders. It is possible for you to do it too but using both hands will make you steadier. Remember, the more steady your hands are, the better your results will be.
Use the pause and whip technique where you move ahead and then come back a little. This technique helps control the depth of penetration and how fast the puddle cools. Use small motions to achieve deeper penetration.
For vertical uphill welding, start at 85 amperes at the start. This will produce enough heat for the weld pool to flatten out. Too much amperage and the weld pool will be too hot, resulting in an arc blow toward both ends of the rod.
The latest welder machines come with dig settings. Each type of welding rod will require a different setting. If your device has one, set it to 50 or 60 for a 6011 rod. The right DIG setting will eliminate some common problems like shorts and prevent your electrodes from sticking to the weld pool.
When you are working with a large single-pass weld with 6011 rods, the rod and base metal’s impurities tend to collect at the last point to freeze. These impurities can lead to centreline cracking. To avoid that, make multiple passes to cover wide joints rather than cover a large weld with a single pass.
While experience and skill matter a lot in welding, having sound technical knowledge can be rewarding. Understanding your base metal and selecting the right electrode is the first step to a strong and quality weld. Operating your welder machine also becomes more comfortable when you know the basics.
We hope that we have helped answer all your questions regarding 6011 welding rods. They are so versatile, popular, and probably the right choice for your home and garage welding. If you haven’t run a 6011 before, with sound knowledge and a little practice, it might just become your favorite rod.